Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Helpful Quilt-Cam Comments!

Last Night’s discussion on Quilt-Cam had us talking about different ways we can get our 1/4” seam allowance.

I demonstrated my sticky solution, and the reason why I like my seam guide to go not only in FRONT of the needle, but to continue behind it as well. 

My reasoning is that I want a very straight seam – and to achieve that I have to start before  I reach the needle, and the fabric has to stay straight as it follows through ---much like a tennis swing needs to push forward to have the ball move forward, because if you curve away by bringing your arm up too soon, you are going to get a ball  that flies too high in a curve and not in a straight path.

So much for my tennis analogy – we spent last week watching the Australian Open!

A question came as “What do you do when you don’t have a straight stitch machine, and the feed dogs are wide?”

I have a couple of solutions for you from Quilt-Cam watchers!

Carol wrote of her dilemma:

Hi Bonnie, I can never get the where I can post a message while you are live on Quiltcam. Really enjoyed it tonight - working on a binding while watching. Glad you discussed about the 1/4" seam markers - I tried to put them on all our machines out in the Quilt Cabin today - with partial success.

Worked great on some, and not on others, found out why, wide feed dogs - these are not all straight stitch machines,just old ones, and some have zigzag so will have to try something else for those.

Had ten ladies sewing Scrappy Trips - to show them the pattern - now they can make them at home later.

Also rainy and stormy here today, seems like it was everywhere today, but cleared up in time to have computer on for Quiltcam!

Jane writes:

Hi Bonnie:
Enjoying Quiltcam again tonight.  Cutting up cuffs and collars ready for strip quilting.
When using my machine with wide feed dogs I use a magnetic ruler as my seam guide.
Note that I have notched it out.  I still use a piece of tape at each end to ensure guide does not slip.

So Jayne has notched out an area that allows for the width of her feed dogs, but enables her to sew straight beyond the needle so that her seams don’t veer off course.

Another suggestion was made to move your needle all the way to the right --- and then mark your 1/4” seam from there, so that both feed dogs are in contact with the fabric for your 1/4” seam.  This way the feed dog will not be in the way of the seam guide at all either ----

I hope this helps several of you who are still searching for that elusive 1/4” seam!


  1. Hi Bonnie, loving your ruler/seam guide, however, I too am having the issue with my feed dogs. I have a Bernina 440 and when I put a sticky guide on my bed of the machine it interferes with the feed dogs. I like the suggestion of "notching" out a guide. May give that a try. Missed "Quilt Cam" last night and sorry I did.

  2. I'm really sorry I missed QuitCam last night because I hoped to see you demonstrate the guide again sometime. I didn't catch all of it the first time. Right now I'm using the metal guide that screws onto the machine bed that I saw on your blog a few years ago. It's working well but I wish it was longer. I have a Bernina 1230 and bought the guide from my Bernina dealer.

  3. Hi Bonnie, I loved the notched ruler idea. I have the perfect 6" ruler also from a quilt shop to try it with. I have pretty good luck keeping a 1/4" seam just using my 1/4" quilting foot with the needle in the center/right position, but do have a piece of blue painter's tape extending the 1/4" line out to the front of my machine surround. Painter's tape is nice because it doesn't leave a residue on the machine and I can build up several layers if I need to work up against. I did this for my 9-year-old granddaughter and it helped a lot!

  4. I just cut out a notch on a piece of painters blue tape that I then tape to the machine and table. Works a treat, especially if you let the bottom curl up, as it won't allow the fabric to slide any further to the right, on its way to the needle!

  5. Anonymous6:41 PM EST

    Had a Pfaff for years with a 1/4 inch foot. And low and behold if last year at Road to Cali the Pfaff's had a new 1/4" foot and this one really works..... I ordered it when I found out about it and it is wonderful. Sure it was $30 but well spent. I have finally realized that I have so much fabric to spend my money on good tools is the way to go..... and leave a few yards at the store. So just because you had the best when you got your machine does not mean that now there might be something better for your machine.

    1. May i ask the foot number? My pfaff is a mechanicsl one, so it is my on the road machine. Thanks!

  6. I use the right-most position of my needle for this. I found that my fabric twisted, when it was only guided by 1 feed dog, so this gives me the best result. Actually, I move the needle all the way to the right, then 4 steps left - that's a perfect 1/4" measure from the edge of my regular foot. For my machine of course. I found sticky guides very frustrating, as they kept coming off and I'd have to stop and remeasure.

  7. I love all these great ideas! Can't wait to try them out. I completely forgot I could move my needle position, doh! And the notched ruler is another great one. I put sticky guide on my 221.
    Thanks everyone!
    Christina in Cleveland (aka learning newbie)

  8. I usually miss Quilt Cam due to time differences and work. Yesterday I was home but I was too ill to get out of bed. I have a Pfaff so I'll have to check out the "new" 1/4 foot that Mimi describes. I would prefer to use both feed dogs but haven't found a 1/4" foot that does that accurately. I don't always remember to change the needle position every time I turn the machine on.

    And on a prior subject, I use Firefox and have 6-8 tabs open at all times. The tab on the far left (the first one) is for your Blog! I reload it with your current entry each morning and evening, and sometimes check it while at lunch at work! Thanks for the time and effort you put into a fantastic blog!

  9. I may try the needle to thr right suggestion. I think I may have to switch out my 37 foot for the #1 foot on my machine to do that. I hope I'll remember to change the setting every time I sew.

  10. Hi Bonnie, I love your blog and quilt cam. I have a Pfaff and got the new 1/4 inch foot about a year ago. It's great. It has a metal guide that comes down to keep your fabric in line. It's worth every penny. Thanks for all your inspiration!!!


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